FurryTail’s Whisker Wisdom curates information from trusted cat behaviorists and veterinarians.
Reading the ‘Raw Cat’
A cat communicates through body language, something Jackson Galaxy, calls the raw cat. He uses this term to express and describe the various traits and physical expressions that cats have adapted through years of evolution. Being able to read the signs your cat is showing can improve the bond you have with your cat.
Introducing the Cat Daddy
Jackson Galaxy, born Richard Kirschner, is a prominent cat enthusiast now known as the Cat Daddy. He has turned his love for cats into a full-time career, sharing his insights into feline communication with the world. Since starting his YouTube channel in 2009, Jackson Galaxy has amassed over 2 million subscribers. Here are 3 ways you can read the raw cat, according to Jackson Galaxy.
3 Ways to Read the Raw Cat: Eyes, Ears and Mouth
They say that a person’s eyes are the windows to their soul - and it is the same with cats. Cats use their eyes to convey threats, danger, and to communicate. Cats use slow blinking to show affection. The proper response would be to send some slow blinks back. Direct eye contact is used to express curiosity or gain attention. Check to see if their litter box is clean and if their food and water bowls need to be replenished.
When a cat’s pupils are constricted, or very small, it means that they are pinpointing their sight and attention on a specific location, waiting for movement or sound. However, when a cat’s eyes are dilated, it conveys that they are unsure of where a possible threat might be located. By widening their pupils, they are naturally taking in a larger range of visual senses, scanning their surroundings instead of focusing on one specific location. Cats can maintain a steady gaze, or stare, for a long time. If a cat is staring with dilated pupils and ears facing back, it is often a sign of fear or aggression.
Subreddits like r/airplaneears will have you believe that whenever a cat's ears are flattened or rolled back are all part of the same goofy look, but Jackson Galaxy claims there are many different forms and variations that indicate a cat’s mood. With airplane ears, cats flatten their ears so they are parallel to the ground. This position minimizes contact with the wind which can distort their senses. Galaxy advises that if your cat is acting uneasy or stressed and is showing airplane ears, it would be wise to schedule a vet visit.
Radar ears on the other hand are seen when a cat is localizing sound, searching for prey or other potential predators. According to Galaxy, cats have some of the strongest audio localization abilities among all terrestrial mammals, being able to accurately spot audio signals over a distance of 25 feet.
Pinned back ears signal a much more obvious signal to others that a cat is feeling threatening and ready to start a fight. In this position, a cat will roll back their ears as much as possible to protect them so that they can continue using them after a violent encounter.
When cats get excited or overstimulated, they tend to bite those around them, but this isn’t always a sign of aggression. Many times, according to Jackson Galaxy, a gentle bite from a cat can be a cat’s way of showing affection through memories of being raised by their mothers.
When raising kittens, a mother cat tends to bite the back of a kitten’s neck to grab them because it has fewer nerve endings and a significant amount of skin that makes it easy for mother cats to hold, move, or carry their kittens. When an older cat is playing or showing affection to their owner, they can exhibit this behavior from their mothers as a sign of affection.
However, biting can also hold more serious warnings to owners not to be touched again. When a cat is overstimulated or simply stressed out they can often gently bite a person’s hand as a way of asking them to stop and it is important to understand this behavior as a way of your cat setting boundaries. Instead of punishing them for a gentle, warning bite, try giving them the space that they are asking for until they are ready to socialize with you again.
Model a Modern Cattitude
Living with a cat requires a modern cattitude. Instead of trying to change your cat to be something it isn’t, celebrate the cat you have. Learn your cat's likes and dislikes, become an expert at reading your ‘raw cat,’ and buy products that fit their personality. Some cats like to be in the heart of the action, others like to be spectators, while others like to hide in seclusion.
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